Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Greens in Winter

I and a few friends took a field trip in mid-December, to the Garden Goddess Greenhouse in Milan. Chuck, one of the greenhouse operators, met us at the door and showed us into his winter wonderland.

At once I could smell the sweet scent of green growing things. A small oasis of spring surrounded by white and cold. The greenhouse uses direct solar and passive solar heat to keep the air inside above 40 degrees, even when the air outside is below zero. A propane heater is on hand in case of long stretches of cloudy days.

Cool season greens, such as broccili, radishes, swiss chard, bok choy and mustard are grown in plastic gutters and in raised beds within the 16'x32' greenhouse. The growing season is from October to March. Boxes of farm-share veges are delivered to paid members throughout the season.

Chuck and Carol are writing a book about how to build and operate a cool season greenhouses in the depths of winter. They are eager to share their knowledge, and hope to inspire others to continue their experiment. If I had the time and money, I might think about it myself. Being able to grow and eat fresh veges in the middle of January is a mightily tempting proposal. But I have enough on my plate for now.

Although, we could convert part of the porch into a small greenhouse space ...


Anonymous said...

Hi Kids,

Take a look at my friend Sam Garst's website on the house they built in Olympia, WA. www,thegarsts.com, He has a green house attached to the home that provides heat on sunny days for the whole house, and he is attempting to grow veggies in the winter...not sure how successfully yet, but I suspect he has learned a lot about the process. Feel free to contact him, I know he'd be delighted to enlighten you on the plusses and minuses of a home greenhouse. Use my name.

Jim Miller

Jo said...

Thanks for the lead, Jim. I'll have to check it out. If Simon knew I was even considering a greenhouse addition to the homeplace he'd flip. I'll have to find a way to convince him it is his idea.